The best kept secret of highly productive people has always been how they use their morning hours. While you may think there’s no hope for you, I promise that ANYONE can become a morning person.
In this post, I’ll share with you everything you’ll need to craft a powerful morning routine…
The very fact that you’re reading this right now shows me that you have the heart to wake up earlier and to control your day. Congratulations!
The first thing you must do is to connect with your “why”.
I needed time to invest in myself. As a husband, father of four, and solo leader of over 500 staff and students, I wasn’t finding that available time from 6am through 9pm. That time was dedicated to family and work. It was about pouring into others.
What I did discover was that I was spending so much time pouring into others, that it was depleting my own resources. I was ALWAYS physically tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained.
Choosing to put yourself ahead of others may seem selfish at first, but it’s actually not. When you fly on an airplane, the boarding crew always gives a little speech warning you of what to do if cabin pressure drops. They explain that oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling and that you should always put yours on FIRST. Then you can help your neighbor.
Life is also this way. To be any good to your spouse, your kids, and your workplace, you need to have made yourself a priority.
You NEED a quiet time.
You NEED to feed yourself spiritually.
You NEED to exercise.
Start The Night Before
A great morning begins with preparation on the previous night. The goal is to make as few decisions in those early morning hours as possible. Here are some things I do each night to ensure I have a great morning:
- Prepare the coffee pot. I love the smell of it…the taste…As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of man’s greatest discoveries. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a nice hot pot of coffee. I usually set the timer to kick on ten minutes before I wake up.
- Lay out your exercise clothes and work clothes. As soon as your alarm goes off, you’ll want to stagger into the bathroom and get dressed. I put on my exercise clothes right away. The game-changer though is when I started putting on my tennis shoes. There’s something that says “point of no return”, when you put on your running shoes. Later, after I’ve worked out, eaten breakfast, and showered, I put on my work clothes (which have also been laid out). Again, the primary goal is to minimize your decisions, so have everything laid out.
- Have a strategy for your alarm. I used to set my alarm across the room so I would have to get out of bed to shut it off. It kept me from rolling over and going back to sleep. I’ve used an app called Sleep Cycle (Apple and Android) that keeps track of my movement and time actually sleeping throughout the night. I specify a 30-minute time frame where I would like to wake up, and it monitors when I am in my most shallow stage of sleep and wakes me up during that time. Doing this keeps me from feeling as groggy. Now I just rely on my Fitbit. It tracks my sleep as I wear it on my wrist and also has a silent alarm feature so that it doesn’t wake your spouse up.
The Morning Ritual
You really need to figure out what works for you. I can almost guarantee that you’re going to tweak any routine as the seasons of your life change.
For now, this is mine:
4am – Wake up, brush my teeth, drink a bottle of water, put on my exercise clothes and read my morning devotional.
4:15am – Workout (Alternate between cardio and strength-training)
4:45am – Eat breakfast
5:00am – Shower and get ready for work
5:30am – Wake up the kids, get the little ones dressed, fix their breakfast, and pack their lunches
6:15am – Hit the road
7:00am – Arrive at work and check emails
How to Create Your Own Morning Routine
It’s time to reverse engineer your morning. Here are some questions for you to answer:
- How do you want to feel by the end of your morning routine? This is important to the next question. Examples could be rested, not hurried, in control, peaceful, etc.
- What components are important for you to feel this way? (i.e. a morning devotional, journaling, exercise, meditation, etc)
- What time do you need to finish by? Now that you know what needs to be in your morning, begin with the time you must be finished and work backwards.
- Don’t forget to adjust your bedtime based on how early your morning begins. Sleep is VITAL to you having a great morning. Most adults feel their best when they get between 6-9 hrs of sleep. Where’s your sweet spot?
One Final Thought
Don’t feel pressured to mimic someone else’s morning routine. This time is ALL ABOUT YOU. What makes you feel the way you want to feel at the start of the day?
Question: What kinds of things do you include in your morning routine that are non-negotiable?
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